By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 15, 2009

The Guoxia, or Rocky Mountain Pony, is an ancient Chinese horse breed typically used for riding. It is one few genuine miniature ponies in the world. Breeders, therefore, must take certain measures to maintain the bloodline of this purebred.

Physical Characteristics


A miniature horse, the Guoxia stands only 10 hands high (40 inches, 102 centimeters). It also has a small head with pointed ears, a muscular neck, and smooth back and loins. Its chest is deep and broad; its legs and hooves, meanwhile, are strong and dense. Guoxia horses have thick coats, which are often shades of gray, bay, and roan.

Personality and Temperament


Though active, the Guoxia is considered mostly tame.




This small, gentle horse posseses great stamina; in fact, most Guoxia horses thrive in rocky terrain where few sources of food and water are available.


History and Background


Believed to have existed during the time of the Song dynasty (960 to 1279 A.D.), the Guoxia was discovered living in the rocky provinces of Jiangxi and Tiamyan in southwest China. Popular due to its diminutive size, it was used in orchards for carrying small baskets filled with fruit, and thus it is also known as "horse under the fruit tree." Other Guoxia are known for their service as leisure ponies used to entertain emperors and their mistresses. 

For many years, the Guoxia was forgotten and thought to be extinct. Fortunately, about one thousand were found thriving in rocky areas in 1981. 

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health